One question we hear frequently from clients is, “What about Facebook?” Many business owners either don’t understand its power, or don’t have the time or inclination to work out a good strategy for their social media accounts.
If you fall into this category, read on to discover some of the most powerful techniques and tools that can help your business shine on Facebook.
Start With the Big Picture
Before embarking on a Facebook business page journey, take time to plan, prepare, and strategize. Ask yourself that all important question, what are my goals?
There’s no sense throwing random Facebook strategies against the wall to see what sticks. Begin with the end in mind. Decide what you want to accomplish, determine your company’s strengths and weaknesses, and how you will measure success.
The best thing you can do on Facebook, as with any part of your business, is to give visitors a good experience. Imagine you were a new visitor, with no previous knowledge of your company. What information would you want or expect to see on your Facebook page? What would make you stick around, like, comment, or share?
Facebook strategies are as broad and varied as the human imagination. We’ll list several here to get the juices flowing, but don’t feel confined to just these few. The best Facebook pages use several good strategies to keep visitors interested and engaged. Experiment to see what works best for your business page.
Strategies! Strategies! Strategies!
Let’s start with the most common and easiest to incorporate ideas.
1. USE A VARIETY OF POST TYPES
Basic posts take just seconds to create, and have the potential to create engagement if done well, or send visitors running if done poorly. Posts that are very promotional tend not to be seen in the Facebook feed, so craft your posts carefully.
Questions are a great way to get a conversation started. Craft your questions carefully! Questions that have answers which are either too obvious or too obscure tend to drive people away. Questions that allow people to express opinions can create a lot of discussion, but can cause hurt feelings if commenters are unkind.
Questions that divide people into teams can be fun. Coke or Pepsi? Team Edward or Team Jacob? Star Wars or Star Trek? Which Superbowl team are you rooting for? These kinds of questions usually work well, even if they are only barely related to your business.
Links to your company blog posts are a common way to interest visitors in what you do. If your blog posts use good quality, large images, those images will show up in your Facebook posts. Images are always a good way to grab people’s attention, so choose your images carefully. If titles are well crafted, and descriptions are properly filled out in the back end of your blog, they will look very professional on Facebook. Good topics and titles can drive traffic to your website.
Don’t neglect sharing great links to other sites as well. Whatever you share, make sure it’s the best quality content you can find.
Images can be used in so many ways! Share photos of company events, success stories about the work you do, pictures of employees, or just something humorous.
Here are a few examples. This orthodontist office shared a picture a family who all have braces.
This construction repair company posted before and after pictures from a recent job.
This UTV accessory company took a funny photo of a snowman riding in a UTV.
Be careful about using memes like the one below. Facebook doesn’t like them, and tends not to show them to a very wide audience.
Storytelling is a powerful tool. Writing longer posts that connect with your audience’s emotions encourage visitors to stick around, make them feel good, and make them likely to share. This is particularly useful if your business is one that often involves emotional situations, such as legal, medical, mental health, parenting, or financial.
Evoking emotions connects people to your business, and helps them understand why you do what you do.
This blog about motherhood regularly uses stories and excerpts from blog posts to connect to the audience. Because these types of posts tend to be long, it forces people to click the “see more” button.
This is useful, not only because it helps readers engage psychologically to your post, but also because we suspect Facebook tracks these clicks. Anytime readers click on your post, it helps your post to be seen by a wider audience.
2. USE VIDEOS
Videos on Facebook are an interesting animal. According to Social Bakers, it was around November of 2014 when videos on Facebook became more popular than videos on YouTube, and they get a higher engagement rate.
But, while videos on Facebook are super popular, it’s clear that users do not go to Facebook to watch long videos. Videos under 30 seconds long perform exponentially better than those which are closer to 2 minutes. This might be because such a large number of users (30%!) ONLY look at Facebook on their phones.
If videos seem like a good strategy for your business, think about using some of the ideas found here. Short videos can be used to help customers understand or better use your products, or explain complex ideas visually. They can tell stories, or make people laugh. Think about your goals as you create these videos!
One last video tip: videos perform best when uploaded to Facebook directly, rather than sharing a link to YouTube or Vimeo.
3. RUN CONTESTS
Contests can be a great way to attract the attention of new people, do some customer research, or make extra sales.
This orthodontist ran a contest offering tickets to an upcoming Justin Beiber concert. Any client who tagged a friend on the event, or invited them to the event page, was entered into the contest.
A few guidelines might help you navigate Facebook contests successfully.
Offer a compelling prize. Small prizes often are not enough to attract a large new audience. It should be something that aligns with your message, and is attractive to the audience you are trying to reach.
If your goal is to collect data, such as email addresses for your email marketing, you’ll need to use a third party application to run the contest. Facebook’s contest functionality offers little besides likes and shares.
Keep it simple. Users should easily understand what the contest is about, what they will get, and what they are giving you in return.
Have a post-contest plan. What will you do with the information / new likes / new customers after the contest is over? Work hard, then plan to take full advantage of the fruits of your labor.
Promote your contest. It may take quite a bit of promotion to make your contest really successful. Encourage sharing, and consider using Facebook advertising to increase your audience.
And speaking of Facebook advertising….
Using Facebook Ads and Boosting
Facebook offers paid options that make it easy to increase your reach. These tools serve many functions from getting more likes to your Facebook page to getting installs of your app.
But remember, not all ads are created equal! Check out some of the many available ad options Facebook offers below.
Facebook ads are unique in the degree of specificity allowed. You can target people by gender, age, location, interests, career, marital status, or almost anything else you can think of. Beyond the traffic it can send to your website, the information you receive about your audience can be its own goldmine.
Boosting refers to adding a budget to a piece of content that is posted to your page’s timeline. Your whole audience will not be reached with a simple post thanks to Facebook’s new algorithms. To reach more of your followers or a highly targeted market of your choice, a boosted post can be a great social media marketing tool to promote your content and drive traffic to your website.
Using Ads to Drive Website Traffic
Facebook ads can also have SEO value. Whether it’s a boosted post or website click ad, using part of your marketing budget for social media can drive specifically targeted traffic to your website (and the cost per click is much lower than Adwords). You can target by almost anything under the sun including demographics, home ownership, relationship status, age, even income and financial status; the possibilities are endless.
If you want to get more specific with your audience than a boost allows, try your Ads Manager. Building an ad in your Ads manager gives you the option to use up to six images and six different copy options to hone your social media marketing strategy and find out what your audience responds to (and what they don’t).
You can even schedule ads to only run at certain times of the day. Find out when your followers are most active on your page and schedule your ads around the busiest times.
Increase Your Presence on Facebook
As a general rule, the best way to improve your Facebook following, and get new likes and views, is to be present on Facebook! Joining and starting conversations, participating in groups and being an active part of the community can help your presence grow.
Try some of these tactics:
Groups on Facebook are a great way to connect with like-minded people. These are especially useful if your business can benefit from a community. For example, no one is particularly interested in being part of a community of dental patients or roofing customers, but they might love to connect with others at a dance school, shooting range, or travel agency.
In fact, you might consider starting your own group. You’ll have to keep an eye on it and be an active participant to make the group useful and fun, but it can be worth it if it leads new targeted customers to your business, and positions you as the expert in your field.
If your business is not the community type, you might still have success joining groups of other business owners in your region, or others in your business niche. Networking with other local business people has been a proven success factor for decades, and now you can do it on Facebook!
Commenting on other pages can increase brand awareness and help connect with potential new customers. Think outside the box to find other businesses your customers might be interested in, and comment as your page (not as yourself).
Be sure your comments are useful and contribute to the conversation. Self-promotional comments are not attractive, and can even get you banned.
Invite current Facebook friends to like your page. Facebook has an invite feature, which is especially useful when you start a new page, to get a few initial followers. You can also hit “share” on the posts on your page, and share them to your own timeline to let your friends know what you are up to. After all, the best way to meet new people is to get an introduction from a friend.
Facebook Is Fun
Whatever social marketing strategy you decide to use, have fun with it! If Facebook feels like a chore, it will probably come across that way to your audience. If you can make it a fun place to land, you are likely to have more success.